Hiker found dead in the Italian Alps
HEARTBROKEN friends of a backpacker who died in the Italian Alps have paid tribute to the popular young man.
Keaton Emery never returned from a hike through the mountains near Lake Como, where he was doing volunteer work at a sailing school.
Search and rescue teams spent three days looking for the former pupil of Cheadle Hulme School in Stockport after he went missing on Thursday, September 7.
They eventually recov- ered a body from a crag at the bottom of a 60ft drop close to the summit of the 1,700 metre high Legnoncino mountain on Sunday.
The 23-year-old had hoped to complete his around the world journey without ever taking a plane flight.
Armed only with a backpack and a hammock, he set off from his home in Macclesfield on his bike in March and cycled all the way to Plymouth, where he caught a ferry to France.
He then cycled to Spain and hitchhiked to Italy, taking buses and trains along the way.
Speaking on what would have been Keaton’s 24th birthday, his best friend Jill Paton said she is devastated at the loss.
Describing him as a ‘true philosopher’ she said Keaton gave her the confidence to love herself and had ‘an incredible heart filled with kindness’.
“His instinct was always to befriend and help people and he never thought twice about offering his help to anyone, stranger or friend,” she said.
“The world is a much duller place without Keaton.”
Jill, from Denton, said Keaton had always dreamed of travelling.
“He taught us all a lesson in following your dreams, no matter how many people tell you that you can’t,” she added.
Keaton studied politics and economics at the University of Nottingham and was considering starting a masters degree.
He also worked at Vanilla in All Seasons caterers, based in Congleton, Cheshire.
A capable outdoorsman, he loved hiking, sailing, camping, rock climbing and dreamed of one day owning his own boat.
He had been working at the Fuori de Vela sailing school in Dorio, northern Italy, when he went missing.
Best friend Alex Gleave said Keaton had a ‘hunger for adventure’.
In a moving tribute she wrote: “Your perception of the world was unique, brilliant and completely perfect. I am so so sad that I will not make more hilarious memories with you but I am so so happy that you shared your views with me and that I can make memories in your honour because you changed this cynical girl’s heart for the better.”
His close friend Will Roylance added: “He wanted to meet as many people as he could and if you were lucky enough to meet him you know just how genuinely lovely a person he was. He was a brother to me and he always will be. I didn’t get to tell him enough how he made my life better. I loved him. Make sure you cherish those you love.”
A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are in touch with Italian authorities following the death of a British national in Colico and are providing assistance to his family.”